Hi everyone, unfortunately i only just found out about this site. I write a lot of fantasy and am at the moment pondering an idea for a book. I was trying to think about doing something completely original and i thought of writing a completely new world. Most worlds are told from the perspective of humans and have a lot of parallel's in today's world. What i mean to do is mess with that so that what i come up with is COMPLETELY new. For example people in this world won't nessecarilly have to eat or breathe or sleep. I could even get rid of gender's/ create new ones. Imagine, no limits! but i'm waffling... In truth, i really don't know where to begin or how to convey it to the reader. I NEED advice!
Please help :p
July 3rd, 2006, 02:52 PM
Ahhh ... worldbuilding. The base of every story.
STEP ONE: Who lives here? What do they look like? How many different peoples are there? For each species: What do they look like? Do they have special racial abilities (Shapechanging, firebreathing, amphibious, etc)? What form of government do they govern THEMSELVES with (remember, there is more than a democracy or kingdoms. Amazonian, Pharonic, tribal, Caste system, etc)? How do they interact with other species ( slavers, explorers, conquerors, exterminators, traders, etc)? How many of them are there? What level of technology/magic do they wield ( Stone Age, Iron Age, Industrial Age, Internal magic, external magic, divine magic, etc)? What type of terrain and climate do they prefer (desert, forest, mountains, jungle, water, clouds, underground, polar, temperate, hot)?
EX: Large 200lb sentient spiders. Can change into humanoid shapes. Has no central government but each member of a clutch has its place from the most powerful to the weakest. They are conquerors/slavers who crave rulership of other 'lesser' beings. Since they are always very few in number, they infiltrate a species and take over by secretly slaying its rulers and using their shapechaning ability to take the rulers place. They have only the technology of their victims and covet magical artifacts. They come from tropical jungles and cannot abide the cold.
STEP TWO: Determine if any of your species worship gods. Do the gods walk your world, send avatars to the world, or interact only through their most devoted followers?
STEP THREE: Draw a simple map of the world showing all the climate/terrains and homelands of all the species. This is fantasy so there are no rules holding you back.
STEP FOUR: Form a very basic world history. Basically from caveman to whatever level they are at now. Include major wars and cataclysmic events that show the forging of hatreds or friendships. (This helps especially if you want to have your story include research into ancient ruins where people discover their true histories)
STEP FIVE: Once you have that done, start writing. More detailed maps/histories/ racial details/etc can be added later. All this is just a basic starting block that you will change and fine-tune as your story moves along.
This will be a reference for you, the writer, as you write.
July 3rd, 2006, 04:43 PM
One of the issues you're going to have to overcome is the question of why anyone would care about something that is so far removed from the human experience.
Ultimately, even in fantasy, writers are exploring the human condition. When we make up other races, they usually exaggerate particular characteristics of the human condition, or they are some kind of fictional representation of a real problem and examin the human reaction to it.
Removing the "human-ness" of your story will allow you to push boundaries and hopefully broaden the minds of your readers. To this end, I wish you success with this project.
July 4th, 2006, 01:40 PM
thanks for the advice. I know what you mean about the reader's not being able to relate to the character's. hmmmmmmmmmm... what if they still had human feelings but they weren't limited by having to sllep, breathe, eat etc. But then how would they die? Maybe i can cut out death. Also having trouble coming up with new genders and figuring out how they reproduce. There will be one dominant species and the rest will be one of a kind, unique types of creatures. But i'm ok with the species, its just how to show the reader the differences between my world and theirs? Maybe an incredibly long prologue, boring!
July 4th, 2006, 07:08 PM
Something like this is often not straight fantasy but science fantasy - if not science fiction.
But for every advantage you give them, you have to balance it and take something away from them. For example, if they don't die - then children are almost unknown to them. If they don't sleep, they die all that much sooner. If they don't eat, they have to sit facing the sun so that plant cells in their skin can make food or have some other way to make food.
And what happens when they get hurt? Sick?
A race that's almost eternal might not even have genders - or may be both, a fully functional hermaprodite. Or reproduce in some other way.
July 4th, 2006, 07:40 PM
It is an idea that's been used more in science fiction, with humans who have been re-engineered beyond their limits or somehow changed by things in the universe, or alien races that function differently from human beings. But it's not entirely "alien" to fantasy either. The idea of immortal beings, vampires and other types, hinges on things like not sleeping, breathing or eating -- various variations. I think playing around with bringing the sf ideas to magic kingdom fantasy would be a lot of fun and it would be fresh, I suspect. Worth seeing what happens, anyway.
July 5th, 2006, 10:39 PM
...The idea of immortal beings, vampires and other types, hinges on things like not sleeping, breathing or eating -- various variations. I think playing around with bringing the sf ideas to magic kingdom fantasy would be a lot of fun and it would be fresh, I suspect. Worth seeing what happens, anyway.
I've always liked the idea in some stories that vampirism is a disease.